Australian imprint LOCKED CONCEPT take a step beyond imagination with their first release of 2017 arriving in the form of a strong collaborative EP between MACHINECODE, DR (half of MachineCode) and label boss LOCKJAW. Diversity and sonic exploration constitute a pair of the most essential pillars of the label's concept, showcased through the label's unusual and powerful releases to date as well as their eclectic podcast series.
The 3 tracks contained within this compact but brilliantly dynamic release peg out a stunning triad of audio; with the stripped and deadly form of MachineCode's DOUBLE GATE comprising a weighty lynchpin for tomorrow's raves, counterbalanced by a pair of more experimental tracks that drive a more listener-focused vibe. MachineCode & Lockjaw's previous collaborations such as Sonic Tower, Cry Me and Alpha Barrier delivered powerful results, setting the scene for the more colourful dystopia of their freshest collaboration - ARRAY - which delivers a complex and driven audio journey with its bristling arpeggios. Completing the EP is Lockjaw & DR's post-pysch rock electronica vibed PHENOTYPE, bringing with it the urgency and storytelling of a film score for an abandoned future.
With their eighth release, Locked Concept take their furthest step to date, not only showcasing the diverse vision of the label, but also giving space to enable an artist to show another side of their creativity.
A big theme in drum and bass is what I have called “future music” a few times now. What I mean by that is the whistles, bells, and machine code that you often see in television and movies that represent a possible future of electronics and innovation, when really we all know that it will be a long time before our cities are modernized to the point of Star Trek or even Back to the Future futures. It’s the science fiction element of drum and bass that honestly attracts me the most, so it’s great to hear albums like the new collaboration between MachineCode and Lockjaw being produced by the Australian imprint Locked Concept.
The EP is only three songs so this review will be shorter than some of the ones I’ve done recently (I know, right?). Let’s begin with MachineCode’s “DoubleGate”. Some true drum and bass elements here with super fast snare and bass drums setting the pace right from the start. It’s a bit soft at first but it grows quickly into a crescendo that explodes with some deep synthesizer and what sounds like old school computers trying to calculate something. This fades out and the fast drums come back in loud and clear against a wavering synthesizer. Each break in the song returns to that doo-doo-doo-doop of the computer sounds before returning to the quick drums. It really sounds like drum and bass set against a computer trying to talk to you, and it’s really a great beat, though the repetition prevents this one from being super innovative in the long run.
The second MachineCode feature Lockjaw and is more of an underwater electronic sound, as though each note is a signal of radar from a submarine. This echoes in the background over some future music and keyboards until about a quarter of the way into the song before fading into the background in favor of some great bass drums. There’s enough layering and variation in this piece to keep it alive, including a few notes every so often that sound like an electric guitar under water. The change in tempo near the end is a really interesting twist, as though the song just loses moment slowly and comes to a halt before emitting its last bit of echolocation. This reminds me of a new age SeaQuest. No? Never heard of that? Well it’s awesome. There’s a talking dolphin.
I am pretty sure that the best song on this EP is DR and Lockjaw’s “Phenotype.” The track is aptly titled because it sounds like this should be the introduction song to a medical show. The piano notes with the heartbeat bass drums are perfect, almost like a mixture of the House, M.D. theme and Doogie Howser. About half way in we get a break with single note like a lone guitar and the drums stop in favor of the piano and keyboard. It’s really a beautiful piece and is more artistic than the other sounds, which are more traditional drum and bass for the most part. I like the fact that the artists took risks on this one and stand out from the crowd.
Overall I think that the EP is a fantastic leap into a deeper, richer, cleaner sounding artistic movement within drum and bass. That and I’m getting old when I can hear Doogie Howser in anything. Though I stand by my statement: SeaQuest is awesome and you should go watch it. While listening to this album. Seriously. You’ll thank me later.
RELEASE DATE: 2017-03-26 Buy Link http://www.lowfrequencies.info